Ex-MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger sues Astros, claims sign-stealing scandal changed course of his career

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Former major league pitcher Mike Bolsinger is suing the Houston Astros, claiming their sign-stealing scheme contributed to a poor relief appearance in August 2017 that essentially ended his big league career.

Bolsinger's suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages for interfering with and harming his career. He's also asking that the Astros forfeit their nearly $30 million in postseason shares from their 2017 World Series title, with the money going to children's charities in Los Angeles and a fund for needy retired players.

According to the suit, Bolsinger was brought in as a reliever for the Toronto Blue Jays in a game at Houston on Aug. 4, 2017, and allowed four runs, four hits and three walks in one-third of an inning, resulting in a 16-7 loss. The suit said the right-hander "was immediately terminated and cut from the team, never to return to Major League Baseball again."

"This is the first player lawsuit, although from what I've been hearing, I think it's going to inspire ultimately other players to come forward as well," said Ben Meiselas, Bolsinger's attorney.

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The 32-year-old was demoted to Triple-A and hasn't pitched in the major leagues since. He was 0-3 with a 6.31 ERA in 11 appearances with Toronto in 2017. He pitched in Japan in 2018-19, and is seeking a job with a big league club for this season.

The Astros didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired in January after Commissioner Rob Manfred found the Astros broke rules against electronic sign stealing in 2017, including during the 2017 World Series, in which Houston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

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According to MLB's investigation, the Astros set up a monitor just outside their dugout to steal signs and banged on trash cans to alert hitters when an off-speed pitch was coming.

According to Bolsinger's lawsuit, graphic designer and web developer Tony Adams wrote a web application to document every instance of banging on a trash can during Astros home games in 2017. He found that the most bangs occurred in that Aug. 4, 2017, game, including on 12 of 29 pitches Bolsinger threw, the lawsuit said.

Hinch told the media that night that it was "not unusual for us to have big nights when we put good at-bats together," according to the lawsuit.

Bolsinger also pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers in his four-year career, going 8-19 with a 4.92 ERA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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